23 March 2021

The ACSL Finals will be held on Saturday, May 29th. It will be online, using the HackerRank platform that students have used during the regular season. All students will start and finish in the same time period.

The format will be same as used in the previous contests for both the programming and short answer tests. There are no team awards. All prizes will be based on an individual's score.

The programming test will be given in the morning (Eastern Daylight Time). In each division students will be given 2 programming problems to code. The programs will have a total of 20 points available. The time limit will be 3-hours.

The short answer test for all divisions will be given in the afternoon. The time limit for all divisions is 1-hour. Each test will have 20 questions except that the Elementary test will have 12 questions. All categories tested during the year will be included. No new categories will be added.

The time schedule will be announced on May 1st.

To be invited, students must score 24 points or more (the cutoff for the Elementary Division is 12 points). Invitations will go out starting May 1st, and will continue through the end of Contest #4, which is May 16th. There is a $25 registration fee per student to participate in the Finals.

The invitation will include a payment link. Upon payment, the student will be sent login instructions.


2 December 2020

The ACSL tests must be completed individually. After students have completed the test, it's a great idea to work together to go over the tests, to learn from each other's mistakes, compare programming solutions, and to collaborate on the "most perfect" programming solution.

HackerRank requires that students are required to sign the following statement of honesty before starting:

I will not consult/copy code from any source including a website, book, or friend/colleague to complete these tests, though I may reference language documentation or use an IDE that has code completion features.

HackerRank has developed sophisticated algorithms for detecting plagiarism in programming solutions. Students found to be collaborating will score 0 points for that test.


27 November 2020

Contest #1 is underway and scores are trickling in! Congrats to advisors and students who have successfully navigated the new online platform.

Student results are updated on the ACSL Leaderboard every hour; if you don't see your results within an hour (okay, give it a couple of hours just in case everybody doing distance-learning on Zoom is slowing down the Internet pathways!)

Registrations will be accepted until January 1, 2021.

Results from Contest #1 will be accepted until January 18th at midnight (11:59pm), New York time.

What's new in ACSL 2.0?

13 September 2020

We hope that you are well, back at school in some form and thinking about ACSL. With many schools in remote-learning mode, ACSL has embraced a number of changes to support schools that are not physically meeting.

What's the same?

  1. The format of the contests in each division - short problems and a programming problem

  2. The ability to fit the contests into your school schedule and model

  3. The quality content and questions matched to student experience

What has changed?

  1. Registration is now online

  2. All divisions support 3-person teams

  3. The short answer test and programming problem will be administered online with automatic scoring and reporting. There is no need for an advisor to score the shorts, run the programs on the test data, upload scores and files, and so on.

  4. Students can take both tests from home.

  5. The All-Star Contest will be the online ACSL Invitational Finals.

  6. Last year's question set (2019-20 Vol. 42) is available in hardcopy format only, and sent by US mail. All other contest volumes are still available as files delivered by Dropbox.


Registration for 2020-2021 season is now open. Advisors may register their teams using this online form.


15 August 2020

The June 2020 newsletter of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) featured a "member spotlight" on ACSL's very own, Carlen Blackstone. In the article, she talks about her experience teaching over the past 40 years, some insight she’s gained, and how she’s still involved in computer science. Read all about it.

2019-2020 season review

1 July 2020

ACSL has been challenging students in computer science since 1978 and has evolved a great deal over those years especially in the expansion of the League to international venues, most recently in Korea and China, but the school year 2019-20 was like none other.

Until March, 2020, most schools operated as usual, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything as schools immediately converted to on-line learning. We realized that the only way for us to complete the year was to host a completely on-line individual Finals competition. That made it possible to invite students to participate from all 5 Divisions, including both Elementary and Classroom Division participants for the first time.

Students were invited to participate if they had high individual scores on the 4 regular season contests. On Saturday, May 23 we hosted the Finals via YouTube for over 1,000 students in grades 3-12 using the HackerRank platform for the programming problems and Google Forms for the Short Problems part.

Prizes were awarded to nearly 250 students complements of Google. One of our Executive Team members, Carlen Blackstone, who taught computer science at Emmaus HS in Emmaus, PA, invited 29 of her former students to host breakout Zoom meetings about how ACSL has helped them in college and beyond. She was also featured in the July CSTA+ Newsletter.

This endeavor has propelled us into making many new changes for the 2020-21 school year. Please join us in this adventure!